A senior police officer is urging Government not to lose sight of the postal system’s importance to border security, which he said continues to be an intelligence source for authorities.
Second in command of the Drug Squad, Inspector Glyne Yearwood, revealed that while traditional uses for the post are fast becoming obsolete, criminals still find it a gateway for their activities.
“Today, advancements in technology threaten the existence of the post. Bills and letters are delivered via the Internet and parcels can be shipped via courier services having been ordered on line. We are moving to the stage where they will be delivered by drones.
“Concomitantly there are those who have sought to ensure the postal service remains a viable entity by using it for other than honourable purposes, such as the perpetration of criminal acts.”
Inspector Yearwood was speaking at a capacity-building workshop at the postal service’s head office at Cheapside.
He argued that the postal could no longer see itself as just delivering mail and packages. He noted that since the service is one of the major shipping mediums used by criminals, workers must be trained to guard against the constant threat.
“So, whether you like it or not, the service has now become part of the border security mechanism of the island. You need to be trained in the identification of the threats and how to combat them. This includes the concealment methods, the harm associated with the items, and the contacts used to smuggle these goods,” he said.
In addition, the senior law enforcement officer noted that the postal service continued to be a source of intelligence.
“[The postal service] can tell us where someone lives, how many persons reside in that household, whether non- nationals reside in their neighbourhood, the nationality, from whom are they receiving correspondence, persons frequenting the district, structures which are unoccupied, and the list goes on,” he said.
In 2018, the international police organisation Interpol labelled Barbados among 13 Caribbean countries involved in human trafficking. He contended that as the police worked to stamp out this scourge, the postal service continued to be an integral tool in tracking down victims and traffickers.
“Victims were found to be working in areas such as night clubs, factories and farms to name a few. These persons are sometimes housed in locations, which makes it difficult for law enforcement officers to detect. Again, this is where the post can provide us with vital information to assist in our investigations.”